A new coin series from Austria — and the app being created to
accompany it — together help bring prehistoric Europe back to life.
The inaugural coin in the Austrian Mint’s Prehistoric Life Back
From the Dead series is being released April 17.
The five-coin series features dinosaurs and other early life in
the water, on land and in the air of middle western Europe from the
Triassic to the Quaternary periods. This first coin in the series of
Proof .900 fine silver 20 coins features the Triassic period.
Designs of the past
A lifelike interpretation of an extinct type of a cephalopod (on
display in a museum in Vienna), looking somewhat like a nautilus
shell, appears on the obverse of the first coin. Joining the scene are
the face value, and a partial timeline, which will advance as a design
element through the remaining coins in the series.
The obverse, designed by Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger, also
includes the country of issue, REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH, and the year of
The reverse was designed and engraved by mint engraver Herbert
Waehner. On the reverse, an ichthyosaurus holds an ammonite in its
jaws. Below the ichthyosaurus swims a nothosauras. Both animals lived
in seas during the middle and upper Triassic period in the area of
today’s Mediterranean Sea. A variety of flora are shown floating in
the water around them.
The Triassic period, beginning some 250 million years ago and
lasting about 50 million years, was rich with life, at sea and on
land. Toward the end of the Triassic period the first dinosaurs and
mammals appeared. The Triassic period ended with a catastrophic event,
perhaps a meteor, asteroid collision or large volcanic eruption. Much
of life was destroyed.
The period comes back to life, beyond the design of the coin,
through the application developed by the Austrian Mint with the
Natural History Museum of Vienna.
Users may download the augmented reality app for their smartphone
or tablet for free from a special page at the Mint website, www.muenzeoesterreich.at/urzeit/
With the app operational, holding the device over provided
documents will allow the dinosaur to be viewed in 3-D, moving either
as a skeleton or fully fleshed, with audio effects.
The new coin weighs 20 grams and has a diameter of 34 millimeters.
Each coin in the program has a maximum mintage of 50,000 pieces.
The coin is priced at $75 in U.S. funds, and a black collector case
for all five coins may be purchased separately for $69.
To order, in the United States or Canada, telephone Euro
Collections International toll free at 877-897-7696, or visit online
at www.eurocollections.com. ■